Corruption in Indonesia is allowing Islamist militants access to weapons and falsified documents, according to a report released on Tuesday.
Some of Southeast Asia’s most notorious jihadist networks have used Indonesia as a base to plan and execute deadly bomb attacks on targets seen as un-Islamic.
Police have arrested scores of militants in a series of recent raids in Aceh province, North Sumatra, and killed several more in operations on the outskirts of Jakarta.
The raids uncovered a new stream of militants training in Aceh, where they planned assassinations on targets seen as un-Islamic — including officials from Indonesia’s secular government and Western NGOs.
The recent arrests have also revealed how corrupt police officials helped jihadists acquire weapons, according to the report, released by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.
“Corruption continues to be a major lubricant for terrorist activities in Indonesia,” said the report, titled Jihadi Surprise in Aceh.
The report details how one militant linked to the Aceh group, a policeman named Mohhamed Sofyan Tsauri, was able to buy weapons from an official called Trisno in the logistics department of the Indonesian police headquarters.
Tsauri also arranged shooting practice for militants inside the headquarters of Brimob, Indonesia’s paramilitary police, on the outskirts of Jakarta.
Tsauri, who owned a vast collection of jihadi literature, was arrested in early March.
The report also said Dulmatin, a top bomb-maker with a $10 million bounty on his head and who was killed by police this year, obtained a passport under a fake name from the East Jakarta immigration office.
The report said corruption probably helped jailed militants operate from their prison cells.
“Payments to prison guards undoubtedly facilitated smuggling in mobile phones and other means of communication,” the report found.
The report recommended the Indonesian government tighten monitoring of jihadist prisoners and ex-prisoners, consider a ban on paramilitary training by non-state actors and train police on how to capture armed militants alive.
More should also be done to tackle document forgery, the report also found.
“The forgers themselves, not just the users of fake documents, should be tracked down and prosecuted,” the report said. “There are whole syndicates operating in Jakarta with ties to government departments, and putting them out of business would help address more crimes than terrorism.”